We all thought live football was gone from our lives, but clubs all around the world are signing up for FIFA tournaments -- and we're keeping track of them!
With real football postponed until further notice, Leyton Orient organised a huge 128-team #UltimateQuaranTeam competition that has seen real world clubs taking each other on in video game form.
As well as passing the time during a football blackout, the "QuaranTeam" tournament is also raising vital money for charity and Football League clubs, many of whom will be facing financial uncertainty in the coming months.
Initially aiming for 64 clubs, Orient had to expand the competition to welcome 128 teams from all corners of the footballing community to create a festival of FIFA football.
Now just two remain. The semifinals took place on Saturday night, with Standard Liege up against Wolverhampton Wanderers, and FC Groningen taking on Istanbul Basaksehir in the final four.
Despite an early setback, Wolves ensured there would be an English presence in the grand finale after a remarkable second-half rally saw them topple their Belgian hosts.
After going in a goal down at half-time, the men from Molineux rattled home three unanswered goals -- from Adama Traore and then a brace from Mexico striker Raul Jimenez -- after the restart to usurp Standard with a 3-1 win for the ages.
After a though slow start Flavio @Fifilza7 @Wolves managed to win with 3-1 after playing some amazing football vs @RSCL_ShadooW who is representing @Standard_RSCL. On to the #UltimateQuaranTeam final it is‼️ #wolvesesports pic.twitter.com/DZErznisb2— Wolves eSports (@WolvesEsports) April 4, 2020
The Belgian side were graceful in defeat as their impressive QuaranTeam run came to an end at the penultimate hurdle.
Full Time | Standard de Liège vs. Wolverhampton: 1-3 ⚽— Standard de Liège (🏠) (@Standard_RSCL) April 4, 2020
Our #UltimateQuaranTeam adventure ends in the semi-finals 🏆 Congrats @Wolves 🏴 & @Fifilza7 🇧🇷
👏 Thanks to @leytonorientfc for organizing this great tournament, we enjoyed every moment of it 👍#UltimateQuaranTeam #RSCL pic.twitter.com/zvd0R6GaRd
Over in the other semi, Groningen powered into the final with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Istanbul.
We don't speak Dutch particularly well, but we think we can probably translate the club's celebratory roar.
🚀JAAAAAAA FINALE!! @nickdenhamer speelt een fantastische wedstrijd en staat in de finale van #UltimateQuaranTeam. Wat een prestatie!— FC Groningen (@fcgroningen) April 4, 2020
➡️https://t.co/M86inDNmZ0#trotsvanhetnoorden @FCG_eSports pic.twitter.com/GNuZheUpwd
And thus, the epic QuaranTeam competition is nearly at an end, with Wolves and Groningen set to do battle one last time in the name of glory.
🙌 It could be coming home this summer after all!— Leyton Orient (@leytonorientfc) April 4, 2020
After 128 teams entered - we now have our finalists confirmed, as @Wolves take on @fcgroningen.
Fixture details to be shared soon.
Who's taking the crown then?#UltimateQuaranTeam pic.twitter.com/rA0c7WFDiZ
Due to the tournament overrunning slightly, the precise details of the final are still to be confirmed, but we know it will be epic. Stay tuned.
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Asensio steers Real Madrid to FIFA 20 glory
The La Liga FIFA 20 tournament reached an exciting finale last Sunday as Real Madrid ran out winners of the inaugural quarantine-friendly competition.
With Marco Asensio at the helm, the virtual Real powered to a 4-2 victory over Leganes (represented by Aitor Rubial) in the final after seeing off Eibar in the semis.
Luka Modric was among the scorers in the final for Asensio's all-conquering XI, who now have the honour of being the inaugural winners of both the European Cup and this (no less prestigious) online competition.
The championship was organised by Spanish YouTuber and gamer Ibai Llanos and involved players from all of Spain's 20 top-flight teams.
As well as helping to keep folks entertained in the absence of real football, the event has also helped raise around €142,000 ($152,000) to help in the fight against the coronavirus.
"The goal was to have a good time, laugh, entertain ourselves in these difficult times for everyone, and donate in the fight against COVID-19, and we have succeeded!"
Whether Asensio will be forced to defend his crown in a second installment of the franchise, only time will tell.
The idea to create a full tourney came about after around 60,000 football-starved fans tuned in to watch a virtual derby between Borja Iglesias of Real Betis and Sergio Reguilon of Sevilla -- which saw the former triumph in a dramatic 6-5 win for Betis.
The competition is the brainchild of esports aficionado Llanos, who serves as tournament organiser, host, drawmaster and even live commentator -- all while remaining comfortable in his bathrobe at home.
El camino del campeón: ¡este es el cuadro final de #LaLigaSantanderChallenge! 🔝— LaLiga (@LaLiga) March 22, 2020
🙏 Todavía puedes seguir donando para ayudar en la lucha contra el COVID-19: https://t.co/TZUdr10dNd#QuédateEnCasa#EsteVirusLoParamosUnidos pic.twitter.com/dTMB1rEnCz
Congratulations to all involved, namely:
Alaves: Lucas Perez
Athletic Bilbao: Gorka Guruzeta
Atletico Madrid: Marcos Llorente
Barcelona: Sergi Roberto*
Celta Vigo: Kevin Vazquez
Eibar: Edu Exposito
Espanyol: Adri Embarba
Granada: Jose Martinez
Leganes: Aitor Ruibal
Levante: Carlos Clerc
Mallorca: Alex Pozo*
Osasuna: Ruben Garcia
Real Betis: Borja Iglesias
Real Madrid: Marco Asensio
Real Sociedad: Adnan Januzaj
Real Valladolid: Pedro Porro
Sevilla: Sergio Reguilon
Valencia: Carlos Soler
Villarreal: Manuel Morlanes
*Clubs had to forfeit games due to their clubs' deals with PES creators Konami.